Light can mean so many things.
In this tiny cottage, we are lit by the full face of the sun in summer and winter. The original owner was English and he and his wife had lived in Sweden and had an intrinsic understanding of the value of light in life. Thus this little house has masses of windows facing north… and just in case there was the slightest chance the sun thought it could escape lighting the house at any point, there are windows facing the morning east and the dusk west.
In summer the prevalence of light can be almost blinding, a true Australian light. In winter, with the sun low in the sky each room is the most perfect suntrap with window seats in utterly suitable corners. One’s mood elevates, ‘lightens’ and one feels more positive, able to achieve more, happier. And even on a grey day the advantage of House is that the light illuminates, casting an ‘it’s okay’ luminescence over everything.
But light also means satisfaction, I think.
Yesterday and the day before, I felt completely overwhelmed with a writer’s workload. My latest book is in progressive ‘final edit’, I needed to write a blurb that sells it, I have a first draft fantasy which is the fourth of the Chronicles that needs attention, I needed to catch up on my own blogposts and I needed to build more pages for the fantasy world on this blog.
Last night and this morning, I worked and worked, whirling like a dervish through the demands above. The progressive edits are going well, the blurb is looking like it might get a credit from the inspector, and more detail has been uploaded into the fantasy world pages here at Mesmered.
When I walked out the gate with the dogs a couple of hours ago, a curious sense of lightness hovered around me, a sense that the heavy load was actually reduced.
I floated along the beach… and the sun slid out from behind the clouds.
I just wish they’d invent an e-ink laptop screen so I could work in the natural light here.
West African abodes face a very different problem of keeping the sun’s warmth out, so “windows” (simply holes in the wall, with mosquito mesh if you’re rich enough) are small and curtained.
Working under the mango trees seemed a ideal solution until the first time a fallen mango smashed my laptop to pieces. Isaac Newton wouldn’t have been around to write Principia if he’d been under a mango tree instead of an apple tree!
Our toilet is also under a mango tree -, and there’s been a few near misses there too!
Mark… here was I thinking I’d written this gentle, soft piece on light and mood and you start talking about squashed mangos and dunnies under the mango tree. One has to laugh… nothing like variety!
Beautiful piece. And Mark brings us down to earth–literally. You must write more about the laptop-killing mango tree, Mark.
Prue, congrats on lightening your load!
California light seemed relentless to me when I first moved here from New England. I missed the big trees that filter light in the east. The only tree canopy we have here comes from Aussie eucalyptus trees planted over a century ago.
Now the purists want to cut them all down and return this area to the pristine sand dune it once was. Arrgggh. We’ve added millions of people here since 1900. People who need oxygen that comes from those trees. Plus migrating Monarch butterflies and hawks and falcons have moved here now we have a tree canopy. Cut down the “Aussie intruders” and we’ll all have to move out. They have become as ‘native” as we are.
Sorry, didn’t mean to rant. I’ve just written to our local Audubon society about this. They’re planning to cut down all the trees in the park near my house. Then we’ll need to live in those mud huts with tiny windows, like Mark.
Anne, Australian light has that same relentless glare and in Tasmania even though it’s softer than elsewhere, on the 26 degree celsius + days we pull the outside and inside blinds down to block the heat of the day… but then throw them and the windows wide at dusk to capture any cooling breeze.
In winter the light is quite literally a saviour… I’m a creature of the sun and without it would fade and diminish like a sunflower past its season.
Ah, the tree issue…
I’m a tree lover. Our plan is to plant 1000 trees on the farm before we are too old to farm! Over the years, agriculture has ‘improved’ the pasture by tree-chopping and we want to redress the balance.
But then we have the trees and conservation that I get into trouble over.
Here in our little coastal village we had a vast belt of pine- trees, seeded from someone’s garden in the fifties. They weren’t indigenous, they stopped the native coastal tussock and shrub from growing and the environmentalists decided they should go. In came the chainsaws and bulldozers. In the beginning it was fine, one could see the tussocks and boobyalla beginning to thrive which was terrific, but sadly the black cockatoos had fled to the native bushland a kilometre away (they fed on the pinecones) and so did the hawks and many other birds. The worst thing though was that as I walked back past those cleared sand-dunes three days ago, there was evidence that masses of gorse was springing up thick and fresh everywhere.
When the pine trees were there, one could walk through them to the beach. Now with swathes of gorse, there will be no such joy! In addition, the pine tree roots formed a natural breakwater. Now, as tides become higher and seas bigger, the coastline will be eaten back.
Such is the price of backward progress…
And if I say anything (and I do) I am branded a troublemaker.
What does one do?